Ah, the whimsical world of wagging tails and wet noses – it's all fun and games until your puppy starts leaving behind stools that scream, “Houston, we have a problem!” You find yourself squinting at your dog’s poop, perhaps even wondering how you ended up in a position where you are googling “colitis in dogs,” or worse, “blood or mucus in poop.”

Whether your vet uttered the words "stress colitis" and set you on a frantic internet dive, or you're here preemptively learning the ropes (kudos to you!), we're all about navigating through this stinky situation together. Buckle up as we embark on a journey through the winding roads of doggy colitis, exploring everything from symptoms to diets and, yes, detailed discussions on poop. Armed with the best veterinary sources and research and plenty of poo bags, we've broken down everything you need to know about canine colitis.

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  1. Symptoms of Colitis in Dogs
  2. Causes of Colitis in Dogs
  3. Treatment for Colitis in Dogs
  4. How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

Symptoms of Colitis in Dogs

Colitis is when a dog's colon gets upset and inflamed, causing a bit of a spectacle in their potty adventures. This means the irritated colon starts to shed the mucosal lining and even starts bleeding a little, depositing fatty mucus and even blood (usually bright red drops) in the poop.

My own pup, Jeremy, gave me a scare once. His poop was soft, a bit runny, and, oh dear, spotted with bright red blood. Yet he was bouncing around, ready for play, and munching his meals just fine. A tiny sigh of relief there, but the sight of blood in his poop? Panic city!

So, here are some symptoms and signs your dog might show if they have colitis:

  • Needing to poop often but usually only pooping small amounts;
  • Soft or even runny poop;
  • Drops of bright red blood in the poop;
  • Struggling or straining a bit to get that poop out.

But guess what? Even amidst these potty predicaments, they might still be their playful, hungry selves, just like my little guy. Sometimes, though, colitis can throw a curveball with vomiting or even weight loss in rare instances.

It's our duty to keep an eye on them and their bathroom habits, even when we’re not home. Consider a Petcube Cam to keep tabs on your fur babies when you’re away, ensuring they’re all alright (and not throwing a secret puppy party).

Alright, onward we go to the next bit when you're ready! Let me know what you'd like to tackle next in our colitis adventure.

Causes of Colitis in Dogs

But why do dogs get colitis? Well, sometimes, even with their adorable noses, they can’t sniff out what’s bad for them and end up eating things they shouldn’t. Stress is also a biggie – it can upset their tummies just like it can for us. And then, of course, there are more complicated reasons.

According to the MSD Veterinary Manual research, the inflammation in the colon (that’s the last part of the bowel where all the food waste ends up) can be sudden (acute) or can stick around for a while (chronic). Scientists and vets think this might happen because of bacteria, parasites, fungi, and even allergies. Sometimes, it might be due to previous diseases or infections.

In simpler terms, the colon gets upset and reacts with inflammation, making it harder for the dog to properly digest food and absorb water, which leads to that unfortunate runny poop situation.

So, while we can point fingers at possible culprits like infections, parasites, or allergies, pinning down the exact cause can be tricky. The sure thing is that dealing with colitis means being a super-sleuth dog parent, always ready with a comforting pat and an understanding sigh for our adventurous (and occasionally mischievous) four-legged buddies.

When my puppy Jeremy’s poops took a troubling turn, our vet checked him for all sorts of things, making sure it wasn’t something super scary like Parvo. When the tests came back, the vet laughed and said Jeremy had "garbage disease," basically meaning he’d eaten something he shouldn’t have (classic puppy move!), which brought on some stomach trouble.

Pro-tip: another common cause of colitis is when dogs drink stale water from puddles or lakes.

Treatment for Colitis in Dogs

When your pup gets diagnosed with colitis, your first thought might be, "How do we fix this?" The treatment for colitis in dogs can be varied, but here’s a simpler breakdown of how it is treated:

Step 1: Treat Infections First

  • If the colitis is caused by an infection, your vet will treat that first. This might involve medication for parasites, bacteria, or other culprits.

Step 2: Adjust Their Diet

  • Short-term: Initially, your vet might recommend withholding food for 24 hours to give your dog’s bowel a rest.
  • Long-term: Afterwards, diet changes will likely be suggested. Some dogs benefit from added fiber, such as psyllium or wheat bran, while others may need a different protein source (like swapping chicken for lamb or trying a hypoallergenic diet). It might take a few weeks to see the benefits of dietary changes.

Step 3: Medication Trials

  • If the dietary changes aren’t doing the trick, vets might suggest medications.
  • Antibiotics, like Metronidazole or Tylosin, can tackle bacterial issues.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, like Sulfasalazine or Prednisone, can reduce colon inflammation.
  • Sometimes, immunosuppressive drugs (e.g., Azathioprine for dogs or Chlorambucil for cats) are used when other treatments aren’t effective.

Additional Treatment Options

  • High-fiber or Special Diets: Involves feeding diets with new proteins or adding fiber to help regulate bowel movements.
  • Hydrolyzed Diets: These are special foods where proteins are broken down to avoid triggering an immune response.
  • Low-residue Diets: Focuses on easy-to-digest foods that leave less waste in the digestive tract.

Pro Tips

  • Be patient – it might take a bit to find the right diet or medication.
  • Keep an eye out for any signs of side effects from medications and communicate with your vet.
  • Remember that successful treatment might involve a combination of diet changes and medication.
  • Reduce your dog’s stress, and if your dog has any anxiety issues, speak to your vet and a trainer or behaviorist about how to reduce any anxiety or fear-related issues.


  • Ongoing vet advice and check-ups are crucial in managing colitis and ensuring your furry friend stays comfortable and happy.
  • It’s essential to adhere to the prescribed treatment plan and continuously observe your dog’s symptoms and well-being.

How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment

Treating our canine companions can sometimes come with unexpected financial stress. This is where the Emergency Fund can become a real lifesaver, especially when dealing with potential emergencies like finding blood in your dog's stool.

With a subscription of approximately $1 per day, the Emergency Fund is designed to assist you by covering up to $3000 in emergency vet bills. This fund isn’t only about financial aid; it also provides you with access to 24/7 online vets. So, if you're ever in doubt – for instance when you spot blood in your dog’s stool – you can consult with a vet online anytime, which is especially helpful in determining if you're facing an emergency. While colitis itself might not be an emergency, other causes of bloody stools could be, and having a vet’s advice readily available can be invaluable.

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For our beloved blog readers, signing up now can score you a delightful 27% off your subscription! Not only are you safeguarding financial help during pet emergencies, but you’re also ensuring that expert advice is always just a click away when unsettling situations arise. Navigate through your pet parenting journey with an extra layer of security and professional assurance with the Emergency Fund.


What is stress colitis in dogs?

Stress colitis in dogs involves inflammation of the colon, often triggered by stressful situations, leading to issues like diarrhea. It is typically acute but can become chronic if the stressors persist or are not addressed.

What not to feed dogs with colitis?

Avoid feeding dogs with colitis any fatty or spicy foods or dairy products. Exclude any foods that have previously triggered flare-ups, and be cautious with human food scraps, as well as avoid giving them bones or high-fat treats.

What to feed a dog with colitis?

Feed a dog with colitis a bland diet consisting of easily digestible foods like boiled chicken and rice. Veterinarians might recommend specific high-fiber or hypoallergenic commercial diets and, in some cases, homemade diets with novel protein sources.

What is the life expectancy for dogs with colitis?

With proper management, dogs with colitis can live a normal lifespan. Accurate diagnosis, an appropriate diet, and effective treatment plans, possibly involving medications, are key to managing colitis effectively and ensuring a dog’s quality of life.

Is colitis in dogs contagious?

No, colitis in dogs is not contagious. It is an inflammation of the colon, often related to stress or dietary issues, and cannot be transmitted to other animals or humans. However, always ensure proper hygiene and consult a vet for comprehensive care.


Managing colitis in dogs demands dedicated care, ranging from diet alterations to possible medical treatments. Understanding its manifestations and acting with informed, strategic approaches ensures a comfortable life for your furry friend, safeguarding their digestive health and overall well-being.

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